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Knesset Approves Force Feeding of Prisoners Bill

papThe Knesset on Thursday, 14 Menachem Av, approved the bill that empowers Israel Prison Authority officials under certain conditions to force feed a striking prisoner. The bill passed in its third reading in a 46-40 vote.

If a prison warden feels it is necessary, he must then turn to head of the prison authority, who in turns bring the matter to the attorney general and president of the respective district court. They will rule on any request to force feed a hunger striking prisoner and permit giving him the appropriate medical care after consulting with a physician. The decision will be made in cases in which it is feared a continuation of a hunger strike would lead to irreversible disability of a life-threatening condition.

If the court rules to permit feeding a prisoner, only minimum care and food may be given, a sufficient amount to prevent death and irreversible damage. Prison officials would also be compelled to make an additional effort to obtain a prisoner’s consent prior to acting against his will. Any and all treatment would have to be carried out with a physician present and done in a venue that assures the privacy and human dignity of the prisoner. A ruling to force feed a prisoner would also permit using “the minimum necessary force” to restrain a prisoner against his will.

(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)

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